Podcast downloads are a wonderful new online way to

share files. A podcast is a way to send files from a

distributor’s online site directly to the subscribers

computer, where they can view them whenever they

wish. A podcast works by having a small file called an

RSS file placed somewhere on the podcaster’s web

page. This RSS file is updated regularily, usually

automatically with text and links to new media files

available for downloading. The RSS file is then

accessed by the podcast client of the subscriber’s

computer. A podcast client is a small program that goes

online to look for the RSS files that the feed subscribers

wish to view. There are many podcast clients available

for every conceivable need, and most are free to

download and use.

The podcast download will be done when the podcast

client downloads and views the file from the feed’s

website. After finding the links to the media files

embedded in the RSS file, it will download those files

and store them on the computer, allowing the user to

view them whenever and as many times as they wish.

The podcast files may be of many things. There are

comedy shows done by people who enjoy creating and

writing a regular show, but aren’t able to do it as a

business. Some podcasts are music mixes, an mp3 file

that subscribers can play. Even some radio shows are

getting into podcasting, allowing subscribers to

download portions of their shows from the internet in

podcast form and play them on their home computer.

Podcast downloads could conceiveably be applied to

any type of file. The RSS files that allow the mainly

audio and video files now used in podcasting to be

downloaded can be customized to enclose almost any

type of file. This has led some analysts to believe that

podcasting could eventually be used to distribute

software updates, demonstration programs, and many

other types of files, moving beyond the simple use of

podcasting to share media files. All that would be

neccessary would be for the users to subscribe to the

feed with their podcast client. They could then stay

regularily updated for nearly anything.

Podcast downloads offer many different possibilities for

distribution of files across the internet. Because it is a

different mode of using the internet, allowing the data

to come to the user rather than the user having to visit

each site they enjoy, podcasting has the possibility of

changing the way the internet works. Content can be

given directly to the individual, easily and ever more

quickly as broadband use spreads. This means that what

the internet is will change drastically. The web changes

from something connected to in order to be used to

something that is integrated and connected with our

personal life.

Joshua Shoemaker


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